Texas Stamp


PD-1070-19 01/15/2020

“In an issue of first impression, did the court of appeals correctly hold that a blood search warrant does not need to authorize both the drawing of blood and the testing of blood despite the Court of Criminal Appeals holding that the drawing of blood and testing of blood by the government are each discrete searches implicating a defendant’s Fourth Amendment rights?

Crider was arrested for DWI. Based on a blood search warrant, officers obtained a sample of Crider’s blood. They had it tested, and results showed Crider’s BAC was over .15. Crider moved to suppress these results because the warrant did not specifically authorize testing the sample, only obtaining it. The trial court denied the motion, and Crider was convicted.

Crider challenged the suppression ruling on appeal, relying on Martinez v. State, 570 S.W.3d 278 (Tex. Crim. App. 2019). There, the State obtained a hospital’s medical blood draw and had the sample tested—all without a warrant. The Court of Criminal Appeals held that Martinez had a reasonable expectation of privacy in blood already drawn for medical purposes. This interest was not as great as the privacy expectation in the initial drawing of his blood but not so little as in the results of testing already performed. Martinez explained that the testing constituted a search “separate and apart from the seizure of the blood by the State,” necessitating a warrant or an exception.

The court of appeals held that Martinez’s reasonable-expectation-of-privacy ruling was limited to blood draws for purposes “other than police testing” and that Martinez did not intend to require specific authorization for testing where probable cause supported a warrant for blood collection. It noted the common-sense inference that blood drawn for a specific purpose will be analyzed for that purpose and no other.

Crider argues the court of appeals’s decision irreconcilably conflicts with Martinez. He reads Martinez to hold that—regardless of whether the blood was drawn pursuant to a warrant or by a hospital for medical purposes—any testing by the government constitutes a search that must be justified by a warrant or exception. He sees the court of appeals’s decision as carving out a new exception. He points to Martinez’s recognition that a person has a legitimate expectation of privacy in the “informational dimension” or “private facts” contained in a blood, urine, or DNA sample that a person does not voluntarily share with the world by the mere drawing of blood. He acknowledges that a single blood warrant could authorize both the seizure of blood and its testing, but he argues that, because the warrant in Crider’s case did not, his Fourth Amendment rights were violated.  

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